Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress issued a new report discussing the independent state legislature (ISL) theory, a radical MAGA-supported legal theory that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider in its new term beginning October 3.
If the court’s right-wing majority adopts the fringe theory presented in Moore v. Harper, a North Carolina gerrymandering case, it could pose a huge threat to the free and fair election of federal candidates—and more broadly, to American democracy itself.
A ruling that accepts this theory could give partisan state legislatures unprecedented control over laws governing federal elections and congressional map-drawing. State legislatures could interfere without considering the requirements and guidance of state constitutions and courts, governors, election officials, or even ballot measures passed by voters. ISL theory would upend centuries of precedent.
The report traces the origins of this theory and its support from right-wing organizations and pro-MAGA attorneys such as John Eastman. It also explains why the Supreme Court should soundly reject the theory and warns about the many harmful ramifications that could result if the theory is embraced.
“If the Supreme Court adopts the radical, right-wing independent state legislature theory, our multi-racial democracy will be in greater peril than it already is,” said Michael Sozan, a CAP senior fellow and author of the report. “Legal experts from across the political spectrum agree that this theory is not grounded in the law, court precedent, constitutional history, or common sense. They warn that it could throw elections into chaos. If the high court has any shred of intellectual honesty, it will ignore MAGA-supported pleas to give partisan state legislatures a blank check to disenfranchise voters, sabotage federal elections, and draw unfair congressional districts.”
Read the report: “Supreme Court May Adopt Extreme MAGA Election Theory That Threatens Democracy,” by Michael Sozan
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].